Worldclass MotoGP rider and part-time amateur cyclist Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia #41) claimed fourth place in the third event of the 2022 Challenge de La Plana bike race in Castellon, Spain on Sunday 23 January.
“Road debut done! A lot of tension but a lot of fun! I had good legs and very, very close to the winner!” Espargaro posted on his Instagram account.
When not zipping around a motorsports track at over 300kph, Espargaro enjoys riding and racing bicycles during the MotoGP offseason to stay in shape. Despite not having decades of cycling experience, Espargaro was at the pointy end of the race until the final attacks, eventually finishing fourth, only 21 seconds behind.
Former pro Benjami Prades won the mountainous 70 kilometres race with 1341 vertical metres of climbing. Asier Pablo Gonzalez finished second and Pau Marza third.
The event was part of a seven race series that runs from January through February in the Province of Castellón.
The 32 year-old Espargaro has hinted he might go pro once his motorcycle racing days come to an end. “Next year will be my last contract with Aprilia. Let’s see how it goes and how the first races of the 2022 season will be. Then I will decide whether to race again, maybe one or two years, or if accept another role in the team and perhaps follow up on one of the proposals that came to me from the world of cycling,” he told Italy24News.
Even multiple Grand Tour champion Alberto Contador thinks Espargaro should accept offers from pro teams Movistar and Euskaltel, “Aleix would be happier riding a bike than on a motorcycle.”
Although with 2021 being his best MotoGP season ever, it is unlikely Espargaro will retire to pro cycling anytime soon. At the Silverstone MotoGP race, after starting from the second row, he finished in an incredible third position, giving sponsor Aprilia their first ever MotoGP podium.
PHOTOS: Espargaro, Aprilia